Movie Review: ‘Safe House’

graphic by Kate Dodge.

“Safe House” is the overeager General Education teacher of action thriller films.

Almost everyone has or knows a friend that has had to deal with that one boring class where the teacher tried to make it “more” than just another Gen Ed. When in reality, it would have been so much better if they just accepted the course for what it was–nothing special.

It’s that class where you say, “Great, I’m going to get a B in here just because the teacher decided to make it unnecessarily hard. All my friends got easy A’s when they took this class, but of course, I get stuck in this one.”

This is “Safe House” in a nutshell. It has a simple plot and purpose, but it tries to be “more” than what it really is: an average “popcorn action” flick.

The film is set in Cape Town, South Africa, and centers around two main characters: dangerous, rogue ex-CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) and the young CIA “housekeeper” assigned to watch him, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds).

Things quickly spiral out of control as the safe house Weston is stationed at is invaded by a group of armed men looking to capture Frost for unknown reasons.

Weston and Frost escape, and a series of crazy chase scenes through South Africa occur.

As the story progresses, Weston has to figure out who he can really trust: his CIA bosses, who seem to have their own agenda, or the manipulative Frost.

Washington and Reynolds are both incredibly talented actors and their skills shine in these roles.

They each bring a unique aspect to each character, particularly Washington. He’s definitely at his best when playing the bad guy/bad ass type, like in “Training Day.”

The same can’t be said of Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Up in the Air) and Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter series).

Their abilities are almost completely wasted in minor supporting roles. They really just don’t have much to do.

My main source of frustration with this film comes from the fact that it could have been a very straightforward action thriller with two awesome actors showing their skills, and I would have left feeling satisfied.

Instead, I left not really caring too much about what I had just seen.

The movie was over complicated and the twists were fairly obvious. I won’t go so far as to say it was a complete waste of money, but it certainly didn’t deserve the $8 I shelled out to see it.

Although they try their best, Washington and Reynolds simply can’t elevate this film out of mediocrity. They’re let down by the several flaws in the script and the sometimes awkward pace.

Just like that Gen Ed class, you’ll be glad when it’s finally over so you can move on to something better.